Incredible Hulk vol. 3 #93

Title: “Planet Hulk Exile: part two”

Writer: Greg Pak

Penciller: Carlos Pagulayan

Inker: Jeffrey Huet

Colors: Chris Sotomayor

Editor: Mark Paniccia

A people, dreaming of freedom, gather in caves. They are a people who have forgotten. The children aren’t to blame… they were never taught… and yet they know. One of the men says that the Emperor’s war is getting too expensive. He says that the Emperor has raised the native’s tribute again and has denied them first pickings under the great portal. He says that he thinks that it is time to approach the natives about an alliance. Another says that their father, and their father’s fathers, tried that. He says that the bugs don’t think they way they do, and that they won’t fight. Another says that it seems they won’t either. Yet another says that the time isn’t right. The other asks why not. He says that the stories are true. He says that the Emperor entered the arena yesterday to slash the cheek of a slave that offended him. He shows them all an image of the Hulk’s face. One asks, “So what?” The man with the image says, “The slave slashed him back.” One says that while in his armor that the Red King is untouchable. He says that no one has the power. The man with the image says, “This man has the power. And the will. And when we find him, so will we.”

In the Maw, one of the guards is in danger. He calls out for the team captain and then anyone. A large lava creature rises up before the guard. He says, “Fratz”. Hulk knocks the guard out of the way and says, “ha”. The guard says that Hulk won’t be laughing when it’s incinerating him. Hulk says that the guard is right, and that the monster won’t live that long. Hulk picks up a giant rock and throws it into the monster’s face. The splash back of the lava from the monster lands on the Hulk’s head burning him. The guard says that he told him so, but thanks Hulk for saving his can. Hulk stands there with his hair on fire. He says that he didn’t do it for him, and that he just felt like fighting. One of the red skinned men looks down on the Hulk and says that he sees that Hulk hasn’t lost his spirit. He says that it won’t do Hulk much good if he stays so stupid. He tells Hulk to kneel. Hulk says that he is getting tired of hearing that. The man repeats, “Kneel” and holds up a glowing staff that activates the obedience slug in Hulk. Hulk feels the pain. The Maw guard tells Hulk to give it up. He says that Hulk will fry his brain if he has any. Hulk drops to one knee. The man tells Hulk that he is a slave to the Empire and to accept it. He introduces himself as Primus Vand. He says that he spent four undefeated seasons in the Imperial arenas and was granted his freedom by the Emperor’s father. He says that this is the Maw… the Empire’s most lethal gladiatorial training school. He says that the Maw must be fed and so they will have a little test. He addresses all those at the Maw. He says that no one believes that they deserve to live. He asks who will be the first to prove them wrong. He says that twenty-two have entered the field, but that only seven of them will leave it. One of the red skinned men speaks up to Vand. He says that this is insane. He says that he is a citizen of the Empire… an elected representative in the Community Congress. He asks if the law means nothing. He says that he demands to know what he has been charged with and given a trial. Vand fires on the man and vaporizes him. He tells everyone left to fight or die.

Hulk stands with Miek and the three other bug people. Miek says that they should all stick together like they did before. Hulk tells Miek to get away from him. Miek tells Hulk that he is bleeding and that they need one another. He says that there is something strange. He says that Vand says that there are twenty-two, but that he is only counting sixteen. One of the others, a Stone Man, reaches for a sword. Hulk tells Miek to be quiet and that the grown ups are talking. Hulk and the bugs rush at the Stone Man with the red skinned men. Hulk pairs up with the large Stone Man. The Stone Man tries to tell Hulk that he has a plan to work together, but Hulk just growls at him. The Stone Man says, “Fine” and smashes Hulk to the ground. One of the red skinned men is about to spear a bug, but then suddenly he has claws sticking out of his chest. Everyone looks in amazement as six of the Brood swoop into the fight. One says that they are Brood from Broodworld, and that they are lunch. Hulk tells the Brood to have a sandwich and smashes two fists into one of the Brood’s face. Miek thanks his friend for saving him a third time. Hulk says that he isn’t his, or anyone’s, friend. Miek says that he knows that he is just saying that. The Stone Man says that he means it, and that is why he will die. Vand shouts to stop. He tells those remaining that they are the seven that lived. He says that from now on they are a team. He tells them to get some sleep and that tomorrow it gets worse.

Inside a cell, the seven survivors sit as their food is being shoved into their cell. The red skinned girl next to Miek tells him to watch it as Miek is shocked trying to remove his obedience bug. The last Brood asks Miek, if none of them can take it off, what makes him think he can. It tells Miek that he won’t be lasting very long. Miek tells the Brood to mind its own business. The Brood tells Miek that he is all out of hive mates, and that there is no one left to save him. Miek says that he has never had hive mates and never needed them. He says that he can smell it on her though. He says that she is calling out to her sisters, but that there is no answer because they are all dead. Miek says that the Brood is the one that won’t be lasting. The Brood opens its mouth wide, but it is stopped as the Stone Man grabs it around the throat. He says that his name is Korg and that he could crush any of them, but that if he did that he would be one man short tomorrow and that then they might all die. He says that like it or not that they are dependant on one another now. He says that they should talk. He points to Miek and says to give name and skills. Miek introduces himself. He says that he is unhived and not caring. He says that his skills are four handed fighting, stealing, hiding, and skulking. The Brood introduces itself and says that there is no more Broodworld… no queen or sisters. She says that they have seen what she can do. Korg turns to the white skinned man and asks him. The red skinned man tells them that he won’t talk to any of them. He says that he is an unbound shadow still in his desert gear. He says that the Shadow’s days are spent in silence and prayer, but that when the time comes that he will fight like nothing they have ever seen. The red skinned man introduces himself as Captain Lavin Skee, formerly of the Imperial guard. He says that his employer was the man the trainer killed. The little red skinned girl says that he was her father. Korg asks if the little one can fight. The girl introduces herself as Elloe. She says that she can’t fight, but that she will learn. Korg says, “good”, but Hulk says that it is stupid. Hulk says that Korg says that they can’t fight on their own and so they have to fight as a team. He says that they have seen how this world works and asks what happens when they have to fight each other. Korg says that they both know what happens then, but that until then they are friends. Hulk looks at Korg for a minute and then says to wake him when it is time to fight. Miek turns to Elloe and asks what a sandwich is.

Korg and Hulk look down in the lava. Korg sees the tops of their enemies. He says that they are big whatever they are. He says that he and Hulk will double team the first one and see what it is made of. Korg is stunned as his brother Margus and some other Stone Men emerge from the lava. Korg tells Margus that he thought he was dead. Margus hits Korg and knocks him down. Korg calls out to his brother. Lavin Skee tells Korg that his brother can’t hear him. He says that Margus fought his disk too long and that his brain is gone. Miek tells Korg that they aren’t breaking and that they need him. Korg says that he can’t do it against his brothers. Hulk tells him that he will. Hulk grabs Korg and uses his to smash Margus into pieces. Korg picks up the pieces of his brother in his hands. Hulk tells Korg that he cracks them and that he will smash them. Korg says, “Lord, I am your rockling. Forgive me and protect me.” Korg and Hulk each smash another Stone Man.

Two of the red skinned rebels watch the Hulk in action. One asks the other what he thinks. The other says that truth be told that he is scared as hell.

Later, Hulk and the others are dressed in their new gladiator clothes. Miek asks why he doesn’t get any feathers. The Brood says that feathers are for soft skins and Miek laughs. Vand tells them to shut up and listen. He says that they will be at the next site soon. He tells them that they are gladiators now and to make the most of it. Lavin Skee tells Korg that they did what had to be done and that they would have killed all of them. Korg says, “Rockling to stone, stone to sand. Find him and keep him, O Lord.” Korg releases the dusk made from his brother. Miek asks Hulk if all of his people are as strong as him. Hulk says that he doesn’t have any people. Miek asks if there are no more like him on his world. Hulk says that there are only puny humans like Banner. Miek says, “Banner?” Hulk says that Miek will never see Banner, and that he wouldn’t last a minute on this planet. Hulk says that Banner is even weaker than Miek. Miek says, “Ha! Weaker than Miek! I’d like to seeing that!” Brood says that Miek may not. She says that humans aren’t as weak as Hulk pretends. She says that she has eaten a few, and the individually they are practically defenseless, but that with their machines and their heroes that they can overcome considerable challenges. Hulk says, “Their machines and heroes won’t save them.” Miek says, “From what?” but then Elloe spots an Imperial pleasure cruiser. She says that they have come to see their blood. Lavin Skee says that they came to see their blood or the blood of the farmers below. Elloe says that they aren’t fighting them, but Korg says that they will do what they have to. He says that they have bigger problems than farmers.

The announcer says that last week that the green gladiator earned his first wound at the hands of the Emperor, but now after a stint in the Maw that they will see how he does against the Chaleen plains’ most lethal pack of wildebots. The announcer goes on to say that this pack is lead by a giant bot that the locals call Eggbreaker because it crushes native hatchlings. Besides hatchlings, Eggbreaker has killed 43 farmers and two squadrons of Imperial soldiers. Korg grabs Hulk. Hulk says, “Hey…”, but Korg just says that he is returning the favor. Korg throws Hulk into Eggbreaker. Hulk knocks Eggbreaker’s head off with a single blow. The announcer says that the Green Scar has taken out in three seconds what Imperial forces have been hunting for three years.

People all over, including rebels, watch the fight finish.

At a dinner celebration the Green Scar and his gladiators are declared the victors. Korg asks one of the servers if he can get some coal or slate. Elloe says that it is ridiculous. She says that the Emperor is supposed to deal with wildebots, and that he is using gladiators to do it. Miek tells Elloe there is too much talking and not enough eating. Elloe asks what the army is for and what he has been doing with the money he is collecting. Skee is told that he has been chosen. Skee asks for what, but then he sees a group of three women looking at him. Elloe looks at him. Skee awkwardly says that he might be able to get word to her father’s allies. Elloe tells him to just go. As Skee walks off with the women, the Red King’s Warbound Shadow watches the Hulk. Hulk sees her and looks back.

The Red King is told that representative Kaifi continues to protest the increase in tribute. The King says to kill him. His advisor spots an updated notation. He says that they already have. The advisor moves on to the wildebot problem. He says that the gladiator team is making some progress, but that three more native hives have been wiped out. The Red King says that they are just natives. He says that what he wants to talk about is war. He says that the Fillians are laughing at them. He says that it may be time for the spikes. The Red King’s Warbound Shadow calls in and asks for a word. The Red King tells her to have as many as she likes. She tells the King that the Hulk is alive. The Red King asks who that is. She tells him that it is the green one. The advisor reminds the King that it is the one that marked his face. The Red King says that he thought he went to the Maw. His Shadow tells the King that he survived that and his team was victorious over a wildebot tribe. The King asks who cares. He says that is how the system is supposed to work. He says that everyone has a chance and that it proves to the people that he is fair. The Shadow tells the King that people are talking. The King says that he is getting annoyed. He asks what difference one slave can make. The Shadow doesn’t get a chance to answer as there is an explosion near her.

The rebels have blasted the wall open. They step forward and one says, “Green Scar! We are the Sakaar Democratic Insurgency! We fight for the outcasts, the discarded and despised! We fight for you! Will you fight for us?” Hulk and the others in his team look at the Sakaar Insurgency surprised.

No Excuses rating: 10 out of 10

There is nothing that I don’t enjoy about Planet Hulk! There feels like there is so much going on in this book. I love the Sakaar Democratic Insurgency putting so much hope in the Hulk. I loved the fighting at the Maw. The Hulk’s burning head as he talks casually with another gladiator in training. I really like the Hulk’s team. The mixture of the known alien races of the Stone Men and the Brood mixing in with Pak’s own creations is outstanding. I love Korg’s character. I also find it somewhat fascinating that there is an Unbound Shadow (which seems akin to the Red King’s Warbound Shadow. One wonders what he is doing there. I love Korg’s conflict in fighting his brother and the gladiator battle against the wildebots. I love the King’s indifference toward the Hulk and the undeniable fact that it won’t be that way for long. The art is amazing in this book. There overall appearance of the book is amazing. Not only are the characters drawn with incredible detail, but the scenery is just as lush. I even have to compliment the colorist... and I never do that. Like I said there isn’t one thing in this book that I would personally change… and I complain a lot.

Review and picture by The Leader